Family holidays and get togethers are a cherished time for bonding and creating lasting memories. However, they can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Balancing different personalities, expectations, and traditions can prove difficult, especially when everyone is in close quarters for an extended period. To ensure a joyful and harmonious holiday, we’ve gathered expert advice, real-life examples, and seven practical tips for coping with family holidays, while keeping your sanity and inner peace.
Coping with Family Holidays: Set Realistic Expectations
According to a number of studies, managing expectations is crucial for a successful family holiday. Acknowledge, in advance, that not everything will go as planned and be prepared to compromise. For example, instead of aiming for a picture-perfect holiday meal, focus on enjoying the time spent together and making memories. Remember that expectations are the first step toward resentment.
Coping with Family Holidays: Communicate Openly
Maintain open lines of communication with your family members before and during the holiday. We recommend discussing preferences and boundaries early to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. For example, if you’re an introvert who needs alone time, let your family know beforehand and schedule periods for recharging during the holiday get-together.
Coping with Family Holidays: Delegate Responsibilities
Sharing tasks and chores can help distribute the workload and alleviate stress. For example, create a list of tasks and delegate them among family members based on their skills and preferences. In our home, we assign one person to plan meals, another to organize activities, and someone else to manage the cost of meals and entertainment.
Coping with Family Holidays: Create New Traditions
Family therapists encourage embracing change and starting new traditions to accommodate different lifestyles and preferences. For example, if your family loves watching movies or an exceptional TV series together, introduce an annual holiday film marathon where each member picks a favorite.
Coping with Family Holidays: Prioritize Self-Care
Make time for yourself and practice self-care during family holidays. We recommend finding a balance between family time and personal time. For example, schedule a daily walk, meditation period or workout or all three to maintain your physical and spiritual well-being.
Coping with Family Holidays: Be Mindful of Conflict Resolution
Disagreements are inevitable during family holidays. For example, if a conflict arises about where to go for dinner, encourage everyone to suggest options and choose one that satisfies most family members.
Coping with Family Holidays: Seek Professional Help if Needed
If the stress of family holidays becomes overwhelming, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. For example, attend family therapy or coaching sessions before the holiday to address unresolved issues and learn healthy ways to navigate challenging situations.
Coping with family holidays can be difficult, but by setting realistic expectations, communicating openly, and prioritizing self-care, you can create a positive experience for everyone involved. Remember, the ultimate goal is to maintain your inner peace while building lasting memories and strengthening family bonds. Embrace the imperfections and cherish the moments spent with your loved ones while they’re still here.